The November Project, a fitness movement born in Boston nearly three years ago, began as a way to embrace the harsh New England winters by starting the day with a heart-pumping workout among friends. Now it’s ballooned to a group of up to 300 people who meet three early mornings a week for workouts that include running the stairs at Harvard Stadium and shoveling out neighbors on Summit Avenue (there are also some sweaty hugs involved). One Runner’s World cover and numerous New Balance commercials later, the always-gratis November Project has 17 " tribes" across the country and in Canada. Want to get involved? #justshowup. november-project.com.
We here at Boston appreciate every newsstand—especially the ones that give our issues prime real estate. But our highest esteem is reserved for the venerable Out of Town News, which makes its home in an old subway kiosk at the sk8er-boi-and-grrrl heart of Harvard Square. The newsstand carries more than 450 titles—spanning Granta to German GQ—plus at least 15 international newspapers. And even though the staff doesn't hustle browsers out, we recommend buying several extra copies of the issue you're reading right now. Go ahead. Do it. The register's right over there. Zero Harvard Sq., Cambridge, MA 2138, .
E6 owner Elena Frankel has earned her place in beauty heaven by giving Boston a much-needed injection of both high-style cosmetics and low-pressure shopping. Her sunny, well-organized boutique is home to every hot, hard-to-find bottle, tube, and compact a product junkie could ever need, from gorgeous Tarte glosses and Shu Uemura eyelash curlers to Poole eye shadows and the just-revamped Molton Brown line—all minus the attitude-saddled staff of many other makeup counters. 167 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Need someone to look after your critters? While you're away, DoggieDay will walk Spot four times a day, clean Fifi's litter box, grab your mail, water your plants, inject your diabetic gerbil with insulin, and taxi Dirk the boa constrictor to the vet—all for a competitive fee. Unlike most services, DoggieDay covers almost all of Greater Boston, and is registered with Pet Sitters International. Future services in the works include dog training at home while you're at work and massage therapy (for your pets, not you). 295 Devonshire St., Boston, MA .
For yoga fiends, Baptiste's intense, heat-infused Vinyasa style has become a secular church in its own right. So it's only fitting that a descendant of six generations of ministers should be at the helm of his newly opened Boston studio, drawing devotees by the day. Rolf Gates's yogic prowess is accentuated by an eclectic frappe of credentials: U.S. Army Airborne ranger, wrestler, EMT, addictions counselor, and marathon runner. His clientele is as varied as his background—CEOs, pro atheletes, housewives, and fitness enthusiasts come seeking Rolf's instruction and inspiration. Factor in his bulging muscles, melodic voice, and deep dedication, and he's nothing less than inspirational. 139 Columbus Ave., Boston, MA .
No place else in Boston captures the simplicity and lack of fuss of real country Italian food, specifically food from Tuscany. That's because nowhere else is run by northern Italians who know how plain that food is. Florence-born chef Vinicio Paoli shuns trends, so don't expect overly decorated plates or nouvelle touches. Do expect properly prepared risotto, feather-light pastas, and Tuscan specialties such as charcoal-grilled sirloin that Paoli ages himself and cacciucco alla Livornese (a seafood stew in spicy tomato sauce and fish stock). 47 Charles St., Boston, MA .
Savenor's made its name as a butcher, and Cambridge cooks who miss the original still travel to Beacon Hill for farm raised lamb, tender beef filet, and reliably tasty chicken, and to gawk at the potentially politically incorrect items like rattlesnake, rhino, and lion meet in the freezer case (all farm-raised, the labels claim). Savenor's is indispensable to gourmets looking for discerningly chosen sauces, oils and groceries, and a selection of the best bread in Boston— and in the world; in exciting news for bread lovers, Savenor's just began importing several hefty, long-lasting, utterly delicious breads from Poilane, the legendary all-organic Paris baker. 160 Charles St., Boston, MA .
The French-Cambodian fare at the Elephant Walk's third and newest location is every bit as memorable as the stuff that established its Boston and Cambridge sister restaurants as foodie favorites. Poulet à la citronelle showcases three of the cuisine's signature flavors—lemongrass, kaffir lime, and galangal—while rouleaux with pork or vegetables puts a South Asian twist on the fried spring roll. The French side of the menu accommodates the more traditional palate with dishes like steak in a red wine-shallot reduction and a chilled avocado-citrus soup with lime and orange juices, garlic, and button mushrooms. 663 Main St., Waltham, MA 2451, elephantwalk.com.
Even discounting the countless plastic-Paddy pubs that have sprouted all over Boston, our city boasts a wealth of genuine Celtic hangouts. But for all their fiddling, their crowds, and their shepherd's pies, these places overlook a pub's true function: to be a pleasant place to drink. The Brendan Behan is dark, wooden, and lovingly worn. There's no food, meaning no obnoxious "dining-only" seating, and the Irish barkeeps pull a slow, well-constructed Guinness. Aside from the odd band or book reading, conversation is what draws the clientele—which is neither undergraduate nor overpaid. 378A Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA brendanbehanpub.com/.
Have you ever seen someone play a quijada—that is, a donkey jawbone with the rattling teeth still in place? That's the kind of surprise you can expect from the raucously entertaining David Wax Museum, a Boston Music Award-winning band that plays an infectious, knee-slapping blend of Americana, folk, and Mexican son rhythms. The group is poised to hit the bigtime (especially after the release of their superb fourth album, Knock Knock Get Up, last fall), but for now you can still catch them at intimate venues when they roll through New England. Dancing shoes recommended. davidwaxmuseum.com.
If you're looking for white water, who needs Maine? There's Class-4 rapids just 40 miles from Boston, in Lowell on the Concord River, and the Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust has done a remarkable nature-conservancy job. Not exactly expected either, in the heart of deindustrialized mill country. The Lowell white-water course, fed by spring runoff, winds its way through Thoreau's Portage—the stretch of the Concord River that Henry David Thoreau never dared to take—and culminates in the Lower Locks at the Pawtucket Canal. Unfortunately, this year's season has already passed. Lowel Parks & Conservation Trust, Lowell, MA .
It's hard to find a place in Boston that better exemplifies the national shift toward casual fine dining than this Kendall Square darling, which serves its inspired, refined take on southern cuisine on polished wooden tables topped with mason-jar water glasses. Here you'll find the impeccable service, top-notch cocktail and wine choices, and outrageously good desserts (chocolate-espresso chess pie, strawberry-shortcake trifle) that you'd expect from a first-rate restaurant—all in an atmosphere that welcomes elbows on the table. 233 Cardinal Medeiros Ave., Cambridge, MA hungrymothercambridge.com.
Rollins is, of course, a nationwide outfit; you wouldn't want a fly-by-night local protecting your home, would you? Macamaux's been with the firm for three years, and as the greater Boston branch manager, he supervises eight others. He's high on the wireless alarm system these days, a device that hooks into a central station manned 24 hours a day. "We have 'preventive' maintenance checks, 24-hour service, and 24-hour communications with the wireless," he boasts. It's not cheap—$1,900 to $2,400, depending upon the number of doors, windows, and other vulnerable areas—but it's sure a good night's sleep. Burlington, MA
This has become a crowded category, thanks to a rack of new barbecue joints around town and in the suburbs. But we're going back to basics. Redbones, the funky, down-home joint in Davis Square, is the granddaddy of Boston barbecue, thanks to its efficient waitstaff, not to mention the biggest helpings of chicken, ribs, pork, and fish you've ever seen. Fortifying side dishes include succotash, hushpuppies, collard greens, corn fritters, and our favorite: Redbones' signature black beans and dirty rice. The homey bar has 24 great beers on tap. 55 Chester Street, Somerville, MA redbones.com.
Exercise leads occasionally to injury, and for treating the busted knees, there's probably no one better than Leach. He works with the Boston Celtics, the US ski team, the Olympic squad, and top professional tennis players. "The real action though," Leach says, "is not with the pros. It's with the people who are doing sports for fun." That category includes Leach. With son Mike, the Leaches are a nationally ranked tennis duo. But Leach's sports medicine is all business. "These days, reputations are often made not on the surgery, but on not doing the surgery," he says. "And the athletes know I don't quit. They recognize I'm relating." Boston, MA